Report: ‘Windows 8.1 With Bing’ SKU Might Be Microsoft’s Way To Experiment Offering The OS For Free

Windows 8.1 with Bing

Last week we reported about a new Windows 8.1 Update 1 build that got leaked which seemed to be a new SKU from Microsoft. This Windows 8.1 build: 9600.17024.winblue_gdr_s14sku_partner.140214-1700 was named Windows 8.1 with Bing.

With Windows 8.1, Microsoft has started integrating Bing directly into the OS which might raise anti-trust issues in EU. We guess it then that this new SKU might be targeted towards EU where Microsoft might be selling Windows 8.1 with Bing instead of just Windows 8.1 branding.

Today, Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet reported that this Windows 8.1 with Bing SKU might be the way Microsoft will offer OS for free to OEMs.

This new SKU, from what my contacts are saying, is key to Microsoft’s experimentation with monetization. I hear this SKU has only minor differences from the current Windows 8.1 SKUs, but that it may be a kind of placeholder for the future when consumer operating systems are, basically, free. I’m not sure if this SKU will offer OEMs and/or consumers new Bing-related incentives by the time Update 1 is made available this spring.

Microsoft has not yet officially confirmed anything about this new offering, we will have to wait and see to know more about it.

  • Emi the Strange

    so in other words.
    “I am MJF and I dont know anything as almost always… but I will give you a rumor because I hear it may happen by my awesome unknown sources who apparently dont know much either” anything new about this?

    • Sugadevan

      MJF, Tom Warren, Paul etc., these guys don’t spit words unless they have some sources! Most things about MS is confirmed by these trusties.

  • NegLewis

    MJF it’s right about 99% of times… except that 1% that really matter.
    I would totally buy into this.

    In EU a copy of windows it’s like 200+ Euro+Taxes…that’s like $350.
    Guess WHO buy’s into that?

  • Nham Thien Duong

    ¿Trust issues in the E.U.? Scroogle bundles their suck engine with almost every smartphone they can get their hands on, and somehow ONLY Microsoft is ”evil” if they do such things. (>_<) Bing is already a built-in part… heck, bing is MANY built-in parts of Windows 8.1 (Blue) so the E.U. would have no reason to sue Microsoft over such a thing, unless they'll sue Scroogle (–_–) for the same reason. :-

    • GG002

      Indeed.. came here to talk about how the EU somehow sees through Google’s fingers for doing the Exact Same Thing. Makes no sense at all.

  • Willem Evenhuis

    I do not mind using bing, but even currently in my expiernce of bing in windows 8.1 on my surface pro, I cant help see that microsoft has lost focus of the the windows 8 OS itself. With charm search, it is already so much bing, that my beloved contextual in app search has disappeared into the in app experience. An unfortuante development of events. Windows 8 in that regard was a better experience on the surface than the current 8.1. In that regard I don’t care that windows 8.1 will get free if the original experience is lost. I understand that microsoft wants to bet big to “fix” windows 8, but I’m not convinced this is the right road to take.

    • Bugbog

      I agree. The Charm search function in Windows 8 was fantastic; contextual in-app search was the default, but it also gave you the option to switch away to wherever you wanted to go, (be it another app, a system search, or wider web search). I used to love flicking it out for contextual searches.

      What 8.1 has done isn’t just watered down, but has, for all intents and purposes, rendered the Charm search effectively useless, except as a generic web search portal! (Might as well just click on your Bing tile and do a proper search!)

  • jimski27

    And still another good reason for Microsoft to not sell Bing.

  • Rand0m3

    I think windows at the $49 price for the upgrade was the right full retail price and something akin to the OSX cost for upgrades (I think it’s like 20-30 USD) would be perfect for what consumers are comfortable with in this world of choices. I’d seriously thought about trying out *nix variants until they had all of those low priced upgrade offers. Upgraded every pc in my house for about the price of one full retail license. It was just a bonus that I actually liked the way windows 8 worked (once I played with it a bit).